This is a really great car, don't let negative reviews sway you as most of the negative reviews are from people who don't want to put in the extra time and care in maintenance. To truly appreciate this amazing vehicle, you need to have a decent understanding of the Wankel rotary engine. It's a super high revving engine due to its design (Redlines at 9000 RPMs). It's owners must love it enough to regularly check the fluids and conduct basic maintenance. The RX-8 will treat you awesome as long as you treat it awesome. The only thing I would recommend is that a perspective owner has the time and funds for keeping it maintained. If you drive it hard and keep the RPM's high, the engine will last a long, long time without carbon build-up. Just take the time to learn about it. I love driving mine! I bought mine as a project car and I have it almost all brand new now. I put a newly rebuilt engine in so the new engine only has 4,184 miles on it, although the odometer still has 172,824 on it. This car handles amazingly and accelerates like crazy once you pass 5k Rpms. The sound of a rotary engine is unlike anything. Another great thing is that they are highly customizable with wonderful support through online forums, clubs, and rotary fanatics. I'll never get rid of mine, no matter what the cost over my lifetime. I have never driven anything as fun as the RX-8, and I've been around a long time.
Can't believe the reviews I read about quality; this sports car has easily been the most reliable car I've ever had. After being left on the side of the road by mustangs and Camaros in the past, as a 6'4" guy I couldn't even fit in the new versions. So I tried this Japanese sports car after my AWD GSX blew, and I fit in it like a glove. You won't find many for sale, but that's how you know its good, and you should grab one before they disappear (like the RX-7). I got a fully loaded sport version in winning blue metallic with the spoiler and trim, and there isn't another one like it within 1000 miles. This is a special car.
Low center of gravity, corners like its on rails, and always turns heads. 6 CD changer reads MP3s as well, heated leather and mirrors, traction control and antilock brakes work great in bad weather, but you'll need blizzaks if you're serious about winter driving. Effortless at high speeds, and I have to use the cruise regularly because this car gets fast before you realize it. Thought it was slightly louder than most sport cars at speed, but a new set of high quality tires really helped get a quieter ride.
Driving a rotary means the thing LOVES to rev, and you have to learn how to get the rpms up to get to the power, but once you get used to this you can book. I've heard many upgrade to a turbo version, but mine is fast enough, and I have too many tickets already. Regular maintenance is the key to an amazing 10 year love affair with this car, but there are other things to be aware of. Storing in the winter requires starting the car weekly or it will flood, the suicide doors can be a pain when someone parks close, and I wish you didn't have to use the dealer to replace light bulbs, especially the fog lights. I wish it was more fuel efficient.
Do not buy this car.
If you are thinking of buying this car go to the Rx8 forums, everything that can go wrong with this car will go wrong.
This car has been the financial ruin of me.
When I bought it the KBB price was $17k and thats what I paid.
3 years later I tried to trade it in, and was offered $3k.
Bear in mind that it is in better condition now than when I bought it.
Every year I spend at least $2-3k on repairs.
The only luck I have had is the engine seems to be the only one that works, for now.
Thats right $2-3k/year with a healthy engine. The car is crap.
Other cars are just as fun to drive with much lower cost.
Save yourself and run away.
When its working it is great fun to drive.
But then it breaks.
This car is a heap of garbage the only improvement would be to throw it away.
I've had my 2005 RX8 Grand Touring for just over a year.
The worst i've had to do put it in the shop for was because someone (previous owner) bypassed a fuse and shorted a brake light out. Have already been informed of some problems i currently have and know how to fix them. Even with the known problems the car still runs great, gets decent fuel economy ,16-21 mpg, and is extremely fun to drive.
I wouldn't trade it for anything. Do plan on doing an RX7 FD Twin Turbo engine swap to it when i get to around 110k miles and rebuild its stock engine (miata's are fun with rotary engines too.)
6-speed Manual is a wonderful must (grearing could use some tuning). Rotary engines are lots of fun and makes the car fun to drive. With or without Dynamic Stability Control/Traction Control it is still a quick car. I'm babying it while at home but as the saying goes, take care of the car and it will take care of you.
93 Octane is a little pricey but I'm not really complaining. Lighter weight and minor tuning would help improve fuel economy.
This has bee one of my worst car buying experiences. Its hot, and fun to drive and all that, but the air conditioner never works. I have taken it to dealers in 3 states and they all say the same thing, "that's just the way it is, get used to it." I will never drive another Mazda because their customer service everywhere is awful!